I was born a feminist. I remember many instances of my childhood where I’d question the cultural customs and proverbs that dictate the roles of women and/or degrade women. I’ve argued so much with my mom about these that she would call me a lawyer.
There may be a range of definition for feminism, but I take it to mean that men and women should be treated equally. I know some of you would immediately ask why this is called feminism and why not something like equalism if equality is the thing that we are striving for.
It is just that we focus on the discrimination of women, on the denied opportunities and on the stereotypical notions about women. We never say women are superior or better than men. As a woman, I find it easy to identify the discrimination against women and fight for justice, so that equality can prevail.
I always thought women had it tough and men had it easy. Without stepping into another person’s shoes, it is difficult to judge their journey, isn’t it? Let me share an incident that happened a few years ago that completely changed my perspective.
I knew a three-year-old boy whose favourite colour was pink. He wanted to be dressed in pink. His preferred toys were of pink or a related hue. He liked everything that came in pink colour. I met him two years later. I was surprised to see that all his things were blue now and not a trace of pink was to be found. When asked about it, he said that he changed his favourite colour to blue because pink is a girl’s colour and blue is a boy’s colour.
I was first taken aback that even little kids are changed to fit the society’s stereotypes when they are just in primary school. Then it occurred to me that men are also expected to do and be certain things. They are also under constant pressure to conform to some ridiculous norms. That is when I grew from being a feminist to an egalitarian.
Here is a beautiful poem by Nancy R. Smith that sums up my feelings and inspires me to think from other people’s viewpoint:
For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong, there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.
For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of “knowing everything.”
For every woman who is tired of being called “an emotional female,” there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.
For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes, there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.
For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.
For every woman who feels “tied down” by her children, there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.
For every woman who is denied meaningful employment or equal pay, there is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.
For every woman who was not taught the intricacies of an automobile, there is a man who was not taught the satisfactions of cooking.
For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.
P.S. Blue and pink are colours. They have nothing to do with gender.